Thank you for contacting me about the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.
The Grenfell Tower tragedy was one of the worst this nation has experienced in many years. It is impossible to comprehend what those affected by the fire have had to deal with. The response of people who provided help, compassion and support, once again showed the fantastic spirit of London and the best of Britain. I also pay tribute to the emergency services, who put their lives in danger to save others.
The Government has been working with local government officials and organisations to provide support to the victims, both in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and in the long term. Everyone whose home was destroyed will be guaranteed a new one on the same terms as the one they lost, and nobody will be forced to move somewhere they do not want to go.
There may have been people living in flats that were illegally sublet. So that all tenants can be confident about coming forward with information for the authorities, the Director of Public Prosecutions has made it clear that there will be no prosecution of tenants at Grenfell Tower who may have been illegally subletting their property.
The Government will also do everything possible to seek justice for those people who have been failed. A full, judge-led public inquiry will investigate what happened and who was responsible for the disaster, to give people the answers they deserve. I agree it is vital that the voices of survivors are heard: I am assured that they will have their legal representation funded. An independent expert advisory panel has also been appointed to advise the Government on any immediate action that should be taken on fire safety.
In addition, the Communities Secretary has announced that there will be full-scale, independent review of building regulations and fire safety, with a focus on tall residential buildings. This will help ensure all homes will be as safe as they can be in future.
We need to build more homes to buy and to rent, and the previous Government set out over £25 billion of spending on housing. For example, the Government is investing £7.1 billion in the expanded Affordable Homes Programme from which will support housing associations and local authorities to build more affordable homes between 2016 and 2021.
Since April 2010, the Government has delivered on average more than 50,800 affordable homes per year, 36,300 of which were affordable homes for rent. Under the previous Government, the annual average was only 42,900, of which only 28,700 were homes for rent. Between 1997 and 2010 social housing stock fell by 420,000. Since 2010 the overall stock of social housing has increased by 76,000
The disaster at Grenfell Tower should never have happened: the police investigation and public inquiry will find out why it did, to ensure this can never happen again.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.